Je suis de retour.

So I arrived in Geneva late Tuesday afternoon. My luggage, however, did not. It was sunny and 75 when I left Michigan. Here it’s cloudy and 50. And it took us 3 hours to drive back to Annecy from the airport when it normally takes 40 minutes. Welcome back to France, indeed.

Being in Michigan was so great, and so easy. Everyone spoke English. I drove my car everywhere. I shopped on a Sunday and the cashier bagged all of my stuff. I didn’t feel rushed or stressed at all. And now I’m back to speaking French, which still gives me a headache. I have to rely on the train to get to work. I can’t get anything done after 7 pm or on Sundays. But mon amour is here. And good health care. And an income.

I do think my biggest struggle living here is still not speaking French completely fluently. I’m always nervous when I go out because I don’t want people talking to me and then feeling like an idiot when I don’t understand. The other big problem is not having a car. I have no control over when the train leaves or arrives, or if it’s going to be late, and it stresses me out everyday.

But I know I can speak French. I had no problems talking to the airport and getting my luggage delivered today. And that was all on the phone in French, something I’ve dreaded for years. I know I can do this, I just need to try harder. I haven’t studied in such a long time; I haven’t made a real effort to improve. Recently, I found an article written by an American who moved to Paris for his job and had to learn French. I have no idea why I never found it before since it’s been around since 1998. It’s extremely helpful in explaining actual conversational French. It would have been so useful when I first arrived last year.

Fluent French: Experiences of an English Speaker by Erik T. Mueller

And David & I are going to look for a car for me very soon. He knows how much I hate taking the train and how much I miss driving. I just hope I can afford one! I still haven’t transferred most of my money from my US account and the exchange rate just keeps getting worse and worse. :(

And just for fun, Brandy in my parents’ huge backyard (a.k.a. why I hate living in an apartment).

In Michigan

My best friend got married yesterday. I came back to Michigan for her wedding because 1) she’s my best friend and 2) I was a bridesmaid! It was so nice to see my old friends from high school. We’ve been friends for so long and I’d been missing them a lot lately. And I’m so […]

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Update

I’ve survived a full week of work. Actually, I worked 4 days last week instead of the normal 3 since I didn’t work at all the first week of October. Teaching is easy and the students are fine, except for a few particular bad ones at the middle school… The only thing I don’t like […]

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Le Retour des Alpages

Alpine cow walking toward me. Today was the Retour des Alpages in Annecy. Every year in October, sheep, goats, and cows wearing huge bells are paraded through the over-crowded streets in Annecy to signify the end of the grazing season in the mountains. I missed out on this tourist attraction last year, so I was […]

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I hope I continue to like my work…

Tomorrow is my first full day at work. I’m going to arrive at 8 am and leave at 6 pm and I work 9-11am, 2-4pm, & 5-6pm. I’m really going to hate Tuesdays soon… I also work 2-5pm on Thursdays at the middle school and 10-11am & 2-4pm on Fridays at the high school. It’s […]

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Rugby World Cup

David has been watching the France vs. New Zealand (which I’m told is the best team, or is it South Africa?) rugby game for the past two hours. Apparently they just won. I have no idea what this means. But David says they are now in the semi-finals. I tried watching the last few minutes, […]

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Success! Again!

I would just like to say I’m sorry to everyone else in France who is having problems with their préfecture and getting/renewing their cartes de séjour. I went to pick up my new carte today, and it was very easy and painless. It expires when I thought it would, and I was also able to […]

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A little taste of Michigan

On Monday, the British English speaking teacher at my school asked if I could write or find a menu for a restaurant serving “typical American food.” I said sure, no problem… but then realized two seconds later that there is no typical American food. In the following class, I had a hard time answering the […]

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Nouvelle carte de séjour

I received notice from the préfecture that my new CDS is there! Except they’re closed on Wednesdays, so I can’t get it today. Of course. It should be a CDS visiteur that expires at the end of March. But we’ll see if they screwed that up… However, I need to do another changement du statut […]

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Sapeurs-Pompiers de Genève

The 118 Project. Swiss pompiers got fed up with so many people confusing their number (118) with the number for information (18something). They’ve been receiving about 20 calls a day for information instead of for fires. So they recorded a rap song and shot a music video to remind the Swiss that 118 is for […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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